Handmade in Italy, the Ultimate shoes by Nimble are lightweight cycling luxury that don’t come cheap but they look fantastic and we’ll find out how they perform as part of an ongoing series of reviews.
Part 1 of a review series + video by Rob Arnold
One of Nimbl’s Ultimate shoes (size 44), without cleat hardware, weighs in at 203 grams. With cleat and bolts added, it’s roughly 250 grams, depending on the pedal system you use. When compared with the Bontrager XXX shoes I’ve been using for several years, there is a weight saving of around 100 grams per foot.
That’s the obvious selling point of what are certainly luxury cycling products but one glance as they come out of the box is almost enough to suggest that there’s a lot more the AUD$799 price tag than weight reduction.
These Nimbl shoes are handmade in Italy. You can get the ‘Australian Champions’ colourway, complete with green-and-gold stripes on the side (as featured), or choose from more classic options of black or white, complete with a gold finish for the logo and BOA fastening dials.
My review shoes will soon have cleats fitted to them and, once I’ve experienced a few rides with lighter feet, I’ll report in on how they compare with other shoes I’ve used in recent years.
The decision of what pedal system to use has returned as, with the stiffness of these performance shoes, I’d rather a more secure, robust fastening system than ‘iClic’ by Time (ie. what I’ve been using for the last four months since swapping from Shimano SPD-R).
The Time system suits the riding that I’ve been doing: adventures in Sydney and surrounds while never really striving to go fast (and certainly not racing), and when there’s often some walking and exploring by foot.
These Nimbl shoes, however, are all about performance: lightweight, stiff and created in consultation with pro cyclists to maximise power transfer.
In the unboxing video (above), I state that I’ll be putting another set of Time cleats on these shoes so that I can compare how they perform against the AUD$549 Bontrager shoes I’m accustomed to. I might still do that, but I’m also starting to think these shoes could prompt me to return to the SPD-R system, and maybe Shimano’s slightly-more-secure blue cleats (2 degrees of float versus the 6 degrees of yellow Shimano cleats).
I might even go for a full race set-up and try Shimano’s red cleats for a locked-into-position approach. (Or, of course, there’s always the option of trying the fixed cleat offered by Time and the iClic system.)
This is only part one of what is going to be an ongoing review. It’s early days but the unboxing of the shoes has got me thinking about how big a difference lighter shoes, which are likely to also be stiffer than what I’ve been riding, are going to perform.
For now, here are some photos of the Nimbl Ultimate shoes, as they appear straight out of the box. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these in the coming weeks and months and I’ll be sure to explain the differences, the highlights, and whether or not the rather exorbitant cost offers a tangible return on your investment.
– By Rob Arnold